May 24, 2024

PASADENA, Calif. — Kris Jenkins has heard all in regards to the large, dangerous Southeastern Convention. He’s heard far an excessive amount of about it, truly.

“We’re not sufficiently big,” Michigan’s star defensive lineman stated, voice rising as he spoke Monday evening in a postgame locker room plagued by rose petals. “We’re not sturdy sufficient. We’re not quick sufficient. We are able to’t sustain with the SEC.”

That narrative helped gasoline him. It helped gasoline the whole Michigan roster, particularly those that had been on the sphere or on the sidelines when the Wolverines misplaced to Georgia two years in the past in this system’s first journey to the School Soccer Playoff.

“So, you recognize, wager,” Jenkins stated. “We stated, ‘We’re going to indicate you. We’re going to remind you what this Block M means.’”

And that’s exactly what Michigan did in opposition to Alabama on the hallowed grounds right here on the Rose Bowl on Monday evening. Of their 27-20 win, the Wolverines confirmed not simply the Crimson Tide but additionally the nation that they weren’t merely a product of a weak Massive Ten convention with poor quarterback play. They have been, ultimately, one of many nation’s finest. As a result of they might beat this system that’s been the gold commonplace within the sport for greater than a decade, coached by the best within the sport’s storied historical past.

As a result of they beat Bama.

Michigan’s win over Alabama on the Rose Bowl was not nearly these two groups or simply this yr. It was about their brethren and their shared historical past — years and years of reasonably lopsided historical past. Because the 2000 season, the SEC had been 8-2 versus the Massive Ten in matchups between two AP top-10 groups, and 6 of these wins have been by at the least 23 factors. The one Massive Ten wins throughout that span have been by Ohio State, with the Buckeyes beating Arkansas in 2010 and Alabama in 2014, the very first yr of the School Soccer Playoff.

Oftentimes, the Buckeyes alone have carried the flag for the convention within the sport’s highest-stake video games. Earlier than Monday, they have been the one Massive Ten staff to have performed in a nationwide championship recreation because the begin of the BCS period. (There wasn’t even a real nationwide championship recreation when Michigan final gained the title — a break up championship with Nebraska in 1997.)

So, yeah. Michigan’s beating Alabama meant fairly a bit — principally due to the way in which the Wolverines did it. They have been bodily on the level of assault. They dominated Alabama’s offensive line for a lot of the primary half after which once more on the very finish when it mattered most, late within the fourth quarter and on that fateful fourth-and-3 with the sport on the road in extra time. In addition they tallied a season-high six sacks of Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe.

“We needed to bully the bully,” Michigan defensive lineman Kenneth Grant stated. “All people talks about how large and dangerous Alabama is, how SEC ball is totally different. What it says on paper and what they seem like on the market (are) two completely various things. We simply needed to come on the market and bully the bully.”

The Wolverines have been simply as large, simply as dangerous. They have been simply as quick, placing to relaxation the idea of “SEC pace” when seldom-used receiver Tyler Morris outraced the whole Alabama protection within the second quarter to attain Michigan’s second landing. Working again Blake Corum dazzled and appeared to get stronger as the sport progressed, extra explosive than he’d been all season — all in opposition to a Nick Saban protection. It was becoming, in fact, that he scored the one landing within the extra time interval on a 17-yard run.

That’s to not say Michigan performed an ideal recreation. Removed from it, with miscue after miscue on particular groups that just about price the Wolverines the sport. Alabama performed sloppily, too, with loads of botched snaps and busted coverages. Nobody would confuse Monday evening’s recreation with a masterpiece, however that didn’t matter. The one factor that did was that the Massive Ten champion stopped the SEC’s finest to earn an opportunity to play for a nationwide championship.

“Within the SEC, they are saying it simply means extra,” edge defender Braiden McGregor stated. “That needs to be ours now.”

(Photograph: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Instances through Getty Photographs)